There are certain vegetables that scream “FALL,” and butternut squash is one of them. I love finding dishes that take a seasonal fruit or veggie and really make it shine. For vegetarians, those wanting to make a delicious dish from wholesome ingredients, or those that just want to try something different, this kale pesto recipe is one for you!
Even though we’re not vegetarians in our home, we don’t mind meals without meat. But if you need some, adding in a bit of chicken or sausage would be great too!
It’s a little sweet, a tad salty, hearty, and filling without the guilt!
Table of Contents
Why Kale Pesto?
When I found myself with a bunch of kale, I knew I wanted to make a recipe drip with FALL deliciousness! A cozy pasta and the addition of butternut squash did just that.
And even though kale is more popular than ever, there is still so much I didn’t know about this dark, leafy green superfood until recently.
Did you know that at just 33 calories, one cup of raw kale has almost 3 grams of protein and 2.5 grams of fiber (which helps manage blood sugar and helps you feel full)?
Plus, we all know that it’s LOADED with antioxidants, one of the best sources of Vitamin K, full of minerals, and even helps to reduce cholesterol. I mean, the list could go on, and it does… but I won’t spell it all out here.
Suffice it to say, I was happy to play with kale for a while (I go through seasons where I love it and times I’m not sure what to do with it).
If you’re like me and at times have wondered what to do with kale, because you’re just not up for another salad at the moment… try our kale pesto recipe.
Seriously, save this kale pesto recipe for your holiday entertaining as well… it will even make an impressive side dish!
A Few More Ways to Use Pesto
- Mix It Into Dips
- Add It As A Topper To Your Breakfast
- Replace Your Pizza Sauce
- Bake It Into Bread
- Use It As A Sandwich Spread
- Mix It Into Your Salad Dressing
The Health Benefits of Butternut Squash
Boosts Immune System
Butternut squash is said to have the highest contents of vitamin A and C compared to other squashes. Vitamin C in squash has the ability to help boost the immune system. This in return can play a part in preventing colds and fighting allergies.
Source of Fiber
The rinds of some squash can be a rich source of fiber, which can help with proper digestion and can be used as an aid to prevent many types of disease. Example:// The dietary fiber in squash can help your body fight elevated blood sugar levels. Which can in turn help your body resist the onset of diabetes.
Can Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Being that butternut squash is known for its high fiber content, it can be a great aid in helping lower and maintain your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease and stroke. So, a great way to keep your heart healthy and manage your cholesterol levels is to add butternut squash into your diet on a regular basis.
Can Aid in Asthma Prevention
The antioxidant, Beta-carotene, is present in high levels in butternut squash. There are a number of studies that have found people who are known to have a high intake of beta-carotene have a lower risk of developing asthma. So, the simple act of adding butternut squash to your diet can increase your beta-carotene intake and in turn help prevent the onset of asthma in you or your loved ones.
Support for Healthy Muscles & Nerves
Butternut squash contains a lot of nutrients, but out of all of them, there are three very important electrolytes, namely calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Calcium, Potassium, and Magnesium aid in the contraction of muscles and can also help in stimulating our bodies’ nerve impulses. Having these minerals in your diet can help greatly if you suffer from muscle cramps.
You can find our source for the benefits here. They also share the health benefits of all of the other squash options as well.
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 8 oz linguini pasta
- For the Pesto:
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 cup basil
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup pine nuts toasted
- 1 lemon juice and zest of
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese as desired for topping
- Peel and chop butternut squash. Lay on baking sheet in an even layer and drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper before placing in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
- Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente and drain. Reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water.
- Place kale leaves in a pot of boiling water. Cook for about 1 minute, then drain and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain excess liquid.
- Place kale, garlic, pine nuts, and basil into a food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped. Add the olive oil in a steady stream as you blend. Add the lemon juice, zest, sea salt and pepper and pulse again.
- Transfer the cooked and drained linguine back into the pot over low heat. Toss with 1 cup of the kale pesto and mix. Add in starchy pasta water as needed to stir. When pasta is heated through, transfer to bowls.
- Top with butternut squash, parmesan cheese and additional remaining pesto, if desired.